The Federal Aviation Administration is the latest to warn about e-cigarette dangers, this time about the fire potential of e-cigs on airplanes.
With stories about e-cig safety being a big topic these days, it seems that everyone has a say about the devices and the FAA has decided to chime in too.
E-cigarette regulation is still developing and the rules that govern electronic cigarettes are being adapted to the reality on the ground. Unfortunately we have seen inaccurate data and basic fear mongering that has led to a number of vaping bans across the country, but this latest objection could have a huge impact on e-cig users that travel.
E-Cigs On Airplanes
Up until now we have seeing different airlines take upon different rules when it came to e-cigs on airplanes. At first there was a universal acceptance that vapers would be able to carry their e-cigs on board, with some that even looked the other way with regard to vaping while in the air.
This was back when e-cigarettes were new and relatively out of the limelight. Their immense growth very quickly made the devices a target, with much being made of e-cig safety and the idea of potential e-cigarette dangers led to a much more restrictive policy by airlines.
Currently airlines do still allow e-cigs on airplanes as a carry-on, but part of the reason for that may be that any mishaps could be spotted a lot quicker in the cabin rather than the cargo hold.
Pilots are more comfortable with that arrangement and have been pushing for more of a permanent policy. Part of e-cigarette regulation surrounding their placement on flights should be forbidding them in the cargo hold. The Air Line Pilots Association released a statement in response to the FAA’s warning, saying “ALPA has a long standing vocal opposition to the carriage of lithium metal batteries, such as those contained in e-cigarettes, in the aircraft cargo hold.”
The main concern is that of a fire spontaneously breaking out because of faulty e-cig batteries. This is what prompted the aforementioned FAA alert, which cited an occurrence of a fire on a plane at Boston’s Logan Airport in August as well as a January 4th fire in the baggage area at Los Angeles International Airport. “These incidents and several others occurring outside of air transportation have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally activated or left on,” the FAA explained in its alert.
This isn’t a fear that can easily be dismissed by anyone because of how much damage such an incident can potentially cause. The issue of e-cig safety from this angle is much different than what we are used to reading about and with 47 reported incidents in 6 years, we can’t exactly call it an epidemic. Still, e-cigarette dangers like this one need to be addressed. The highly rated best e-cig brands are very stable products but some of the build your owns and mech mods do not have internal safety features.
One way would be through e-cigarette regulation, but an easy way for the vaping public to contribute would be to simply be pickier about where they buy from. We all know that shoddy products exist out there in electronics, and e-cigs aren’t immune to that.
Choosing from among the upper echelon of quality e-cig brands is crucial for the end-user to get the experience he or she needs, but we shouldn’t overlook the potential for danger beyond quips of lacking in satisfaction.
Those lower quality cheap e-cigs may not only taste terrible and not last, they could also become a potential hazard that you do not want around you.
What would be great is if the FAA identified which e-cigarettes have been at the root of these incidents. We haven’t read about any of the e-cig brands that we rate highly ever catching fire, much less in an airplane. So while the threat is there based on the fact that this are batteries and batteries can overheat, the proper precautions in quality control greatly reduce any risks. It is hugely important to choose your e-cig wisely and if enough people do, this concern from the FAA won’t be necessary.